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Thomas Franklin Holgate (1859-1945) Papers

 Collection
Identifier: 3/12
The Thomas Franklin Holgate Papers offer a brief glimpse of the work of a competent university administrator during the first two decades of the Twentieth Century; a view of an effective and practical promoter of higher education for blacks; a productive and stimulating teacher and writer in mathematics; and an administrator (especially in financial matters) sought-after by many educational and religious organizations.

The papers are arranged in five main categories: biographical material; addresses and writings; correspondence; material relating to Holgate Library and Holgate Science Speaking Competition; and material concerning mathematics.

The biographical material includes articles, diaries, newspaper clippings, obituaries, and some material concerning Georgina Burdette Holgate (Dr. Holgate's second wife). The diaries are especially valuable because they record many of Holgate's major appointments in Evanston and elsewhere, provide data concerning his many trips, and accounts of his expenses. The later diaries also contain information about the four Holgate children and their families, occasional personal items and lists of his reading, and more detailed financial records.

The addresses and writings include some reprints of mathematical articles by Holgate and typescripts of his two unpublished historical essays, “A History of the Department of Mathematics, Northwestern University, 1855-1905,” and “Northwestern in the Great War, 1917-1919.”

The general correspondence is primarily administrative and relates to his two terms as acting president (1904-1906, 1916-1919) and to his service as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts (1902-1916). Among the letters from Holgate's first term as acting president are many bitter ones concerning the marketing and text of Arthur H. Wilde's “Northwestern University - A History, 1855-1905” (1906). There are smaller amounts of correspondence with officials of the Norwegian-Danish Theological Seminary (1904) and the Swedish Theological Seminary (1904-1905). Most of the material during Holgate's term as Dean relates to appointments and curricular matters. Some of the personal correspondence during these first two periods contains invitations to Holgate to assume positions at other colleges and universities. The correspondence during Holgate's second term as acting president includes material on the admission of Northwestern to the Association of American Universities; the search for a new head of the Chemistry Department; the search for a new librarian (ultimately Theodore Wesley Koch); the School of Commerce; and the Methodist Episcopal Church.

The correspondence with various individuals may be described briefly as follows:

Correspondent/span dates

Topic

William Deering /1903-1912

Financial and administrative matters, Board of Trustees business.

Ulysses S. Grant /1906-¬1920 –

Holgate's closest friend. Administrative material pertaining to the College of Liberal Arts (Professor Grant was acting dean, 1907-1908), personal items.

Ludwig Muller /1937-¬1939 –

Visiting Professor of German at Northwestern, Muller family lived in the Holgates’ home. Personal letters growing out of the year 1928-1929.

Walter Dill Scott /1917-1944

NU president Administrative and curricular matters, personal items dealing with Holgate's working and retirement salaries.

Henry Seely White /1897-1944 –

Holgate's colleague in the Department of Mathematics (to 1905) and later at Vassar. Technical subjects in mathematics, obituaries of White and some personal letters from his survivors.

Abram van Epps Young /1918-1922 –

Chairman of the Department of Chemistry. Letters regarding Young's leave of absence and retirement, the seven-page text (May 10, 1918) of Young's comments to Holgate at a dinner at the University Club of Evanston while inducting Holgate into the "ancient order of the XXV's."

Completing the correspondence section is a substantial folder of letters pertinent to the Holgate's stay in China (1921-1922) and a small amount of letters and other items related to the Holgate's European visits in 1903 and 1907. Some of the Chinese items are photocopies of letters to Professor Grant in which Holgate describes in some detail his work, the scenery, and the educational and political institutions. Included here is the carbon of a general two-page letter (April 2, 1927) from A. J. Bowen (President of the University of Nanking) describing the attacks in Shanghai by revolutionary Chinese soldiers (March 21) on Bowen and other foreigners, in which seven were killed and the rest were saved primarily by shelling from U.S. and British ships.

The folder of material on the Holgate Library at Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, primarily contains items concerned with the groundbreaking for and dedication of the library named for the man who served as Treasurer of the College's Board of Trustees for many years.

The mathematics category includes correspondence and reviews concerning Holgate's tests of geometry and his translation from the German of Reye's standard works on the geometry of position. Also here are correspondence and notes dealing with various mathematical topics and courses, and a partial draft for a book entitled “Elementary Plane Geometry, A Second Course.” Of special interest are Holgate's brief accounts of the early days of the Chicago Chapter of the American Mathematical Society and of the “Evanston Colloquium” held at the time of the Columbian Exposition (1893).

Dates

  • 1892-1973

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored off-site and requires 48 hours advance notice for retrieval. Please contact us at archives@northwestern.edu or 847-491-3136 to schedule an appointment to view the collection.

Addition

Permission to view the folder relating to the sale of 617 Library Place should be sought from the University Archivist.

Addition

None.

Extent

5.00 Boxes

Abstract

The Thomas Franklin Holgate Papers offer a brief glimpse of the work of a competent university administrator during the first two decades of the Twentieth Century; a view of an effective and practical promoter of higher education for blacks; a productive and stimulating teacher and writer in mathematics; and an administrator (especially in financial matters) sought-after by many educational and religious organizations.
The papers are arranged in five main categories: biographical material; addresses and writings; correspondence; material relating to Holgate Library and Holgate Science Speaking Competition; and material concerning mathematics.
The biographical material includes articles, diaries, newspaper clippings, obituaries, and some material concerning Georgina Burdette Holgate (Dr. Holgate's second wife). The diaries are especially valuable because they record many of Holgate's major appointments in Evanston and elsewhere, provide data concerning his many trips, and accounts of his expenses. The later diaries also contain information about the four Holgate children and their families, occasional personal items and lists of his reading, and more detailed financial records.
The addresses and writings include some reprints of mathematical articles by Holgate and typescripts of his two unpublished historical essays, “A History of the Department of Mathematics, Northwestern University, 1855-1905,” and “Northwestern in the Great War, 1917-1919.”
The general correspondence is primarily administrative and relates to his two terms as acting president (1904-1906, 1916-1919) and to his service as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts (1902-1916).

Arrangement Note

All of the material in individual folders is arranged chronologically by date.

Method of Acquisition

1) Material transferred to the University Archives at an unknown date prior to June 1, 1974, and arranged in 2 boxes as Series 3/12; 2) Gifts from Miss Frances Holgate and Mrs. Barbara Holgate Young, March 7, 1977; 3) Materials removed during the processing of the Walter Dill Scott Papers (Series 3/15).

Addition

This addition to the Thomas Holgate Papers was separated from Accession Number 02-22, donated to the University Archives by Holgate's great grandson, Thomas Young, on March 12, 2002.

Addition

This addition to the Thomas Holgate Papers was donated to the University Archives by Holgate's grandson, Thomas Young, on February 10, 2006, as Accession Number 06-25.

Separated Materials

Addition A small amount of duplicate and extraneous material was discarded.

Addition

A number of photographs were separated and added to the relevant folders in the University Archives' Photograph Collection: several photographs of Thomas Holgate and of the trophy he was awarded by Northwestern University students (added to the Thomas Holgate file); one photograph of a mathematics classroom in University Hall (added to the University Hall—Interiors file); several photographs of the Northwestern University campus model that Frances Holgate built (added to the Frances Holgate file). Newspaper clippings relating to the 1968 takeover of the Bursar's Office at Northwestern were added to the relevant subject file. Two letters and some architectural sketches by Frances Holgate were added to her file in the University Archives, Room 110.

Processing Information

Robert J. Schmid; William K. Beatty; September - December, 1975. November - December, 1980.

Addition

Sarah Rose; August 2003.

Addition

Janet Olson, February, 2006
Title
Guide to the Thomas Franklin Holgate (1859-1945) Papers
Author
Robert J. Schmid; William K. Beatty
Date
01/09/1975
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Repository Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Contact:
Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US
847-491-3635